Form OptimizationHow To Use Forms To Better Facilitate Conversions

By Kimberly McCormick, Director of Corporate Marketing

One of the main staples in the lead-generation tool box for digital corporate marketers is a web page form.  Marketers love them as the most direct way to gather contact and qualification information on leads.  However, the way a form is deployed is a critical and pivotal factor in the success of your lead-conversion process.

Step into the shoes of your web audiences for a moment to consider how your form appears to them. Depending on where your visitor is in their buying journey, your form could be received as:

  • The thing standing in the way of content they desire
  • The “point of no return” for the decision to open the door to real or imagined phone call or email sales “harassment”
  • The gateway to getting pricing information, or service, or just getting into a conversation

Here are some tips to present your forms in the best possible way for reducing friction and encouraging visitors to click on that “Send” button. Notice I did not say “Submit.” There is no way this term for a call-to-action button was created by someone with customer-centric perspective, which brings me to the first tip…

 1. Never, Ever “Submit”

This word is a sharp command, akin to canine “Sit,” “Heel,” or “Roll Over.” It sets up an oppressive flavor and it’s just bad form in relationship building communication. You likely don’t enjoy “submitting” and neither do your prospective customers. Insist on using a better word or phrase to complete the form process that begins your relationship with this engaged and responsive prospect or customer.

Many marketing automation and web-form creation tools allow you to customize the text on any given button.  Use these wherever and whenever you can.  In fact, HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Call to Action best practices detail the benefits of using a full phrase with specific action words on buttons that support the value the person receives through clicking; and guides them through the step, for example, “Download Your ‘Best Button Text for Any Situation’ eGuide.”

2. Right-Size and Minimize

Reducing the friction to complete a form really does improve conversion. Really think through the data points you are asking your visitors to complete. Is the item beyond the form worth the information you are requiring from them?  If you get an email address, or website URL, do you need the phone number? (Search through your database of form submitted phone numbers and look at how many are obviously fake: 123-4567, 321-999-9999, and my favorite, 867-5309.)

Ask for only the information that you immediately need to process the offer associated with the form.  In some cases, like a mailed kit, this may be a full postal address, but in others your form may only need to require a name and phone number to facilitate a follow-up or confirmation call. Consider using that call interaction to find out things like job title, line of business, and other nice-to-have data that rounds out your marketing CRM information.

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3. Get Smart

A great feature of many advanced marketing campaign management tools is a “Smart Form”, especially when considered from your recipient’s point of view. When you receive an email, it is logical to assume that the sender has your email address in order to send to you.  Further, if an email takes advantage of personalization with the recipient’s name or company name mentioned, can you see where it could be aggravating to a prospect who is responding to then have to retype their name and email on a form?

Pre-populated “smart” form functionality alleviates this potential source of negativity.  Some applications, like HubSpot, offer both pre-population intelligence and the ability to present a “back up” form field in place of one that you already have the answer to.  When used appropriately (not too many on any given form) these can be a great source of data-building as you are relationship-building and nurturing a prospect or customer through your marketing communication and campaigns.

There is solid science and art behind each element of the online conversion optimization process that culminates in form completion. Taking the right measures to create high-performing forms is a key part of this process.  The right strategy, tactics, visuals, words, layout, and flow that set up campaigns for best conversion are just what the digital marketers at Bayshore Solutions are experienced in and enthusiastic about.  Contact us to create better performing campaigns for your business.

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